Real Life Home School Mom

The Real Life Home School Mom

The Real Life Home School Mom has 13 chapters and over 175 full-size 8-1/2" x 11" pages.  It has a clear plastic cover over a cardstock cover, which means it's jelly proof!  It is also spiral-bound, so it will lie flat for you when your hands are busy doing other Real Life Mommy things.   Most of all, written by a veteran home school mom of ten (ages preschool to adult) it is packed with encouragement and practical tips to help you thrive and not just survive in the home school lifestyle!  You can read the introduction and chapter summaries below.  You can also read:

You can also read a review of this book here: Review of The Real Life Home School Mom on Eclectic Homeschool Online


           The Ideal Home School Mom. What image do those words convey?  If you are like me, your mind conjures up a composite portrait of all your aspirations.  That Ideal Home School Mom juggles it all in perfect balance.  Her house is always ready for unexpected company.  The children can always find clean socks.  They never burp or pinch each other or interrupt when she is on the phone.  She never raises her voice.  She effortlessly jumps from teaching algebra to teaching ABCs.  She has a gourmet meal (with homemade whole wheat bread and garden fresh vegetables) ready at 6 o'clock sharp.  She is the home school version of the Proverbs 31 woman, and unfortunately you know you'll never be just like her.  You try and try, but as a Real Life Home School Mom, you fall short of the glory ofher, your picture of perfection.  I'm all for high ideals.  I have visions for my family that will not let go of me.  Yet in my own life, I see deep needs for renewal and encouragement that will not be met by a new and better curriculum.  What I need is a new and better me!  I know I am not alone in this.

            Who am I to write a book on home schooling?  Certainly not Super Mom!  I won't claim to be an expert on education or psychology.  I have a Management degree and my work experience is in computer programming.  My qualification is simply that I am a Real Life Home School Mom, just like you.  Thad and I have ten children (seven daughters and three sons) ages two to young adult. They all have vastly different personalities, talents, and learning styles, so we have had to adjust our home school methods over the past several years.

            Beyond teaching my own children, my heart is committed to encouraging other home school moms.  Many years ago, I compiled a set of notes called "The Little Book of Home Schooling" to hand out to new home school families and use at a "Get Started in Home Schooling" workshop.  Since The Real Life Home School Mom first came out in 2000, I also published another book, Common Sense Excellence: Faith-Filled Home Education for Preschool to 5th Grade which is a comprehensive
subject-by-subject teaching guide.  In addition, since 1998, I have published the Hope Chest Home School News, a free e-mail magazine reaching over 1200 families around the world.  I notice that whenever I talk to home school moms, I hear the same thing: voices that are hopeful yet hesitant, full of both wonder and worry.  My heart is with them.  I know just how they feel!

This new edition in 2007 is a major rewrite reflecting what I have learned in the past seven years, which has included raising teenagers, transitioning into new approaches to home schooling, and experiencing a “midlife reckoning” and corresponding spiritual renewal.    I trust that you are learning and growing each year also, which is why this new edition of The Real Life Home School Mom is subtitled A Life in Revision.

            Over the past decade or so, I have written these pages with an eagerness to minister to others who feel like I do.   If I can encourage just one mom to hang in there through tough times, I will be satisfied.  If you aren't the perfect home school mom, this is for you!          

Chapter Summaries

Part 1:

Home Schooling Basics


Blessed and Stressed


Our first chapter applauds the benefits of home schooling, and then candidly acknowledges the common challenges, which include: overwhelming choices, organizational nightmares, opposition, family frenzy, evaluation blues, expectations of others, and special cases. The closing paragraphs invite the reader to assess how she is doing emotionally as a home school mom.



Aim for the Heart  


This is the core of Christian home schooling!   As one of the meatiest chapters, it is also mostly new material to the book.  This chapter discusses teaching children about spiritual maturity,  Scripture, creation & creativity, discernment, adversity, their calling in life, missions, and justice & mercy. (Click here to read an excerpt on Justice & Mercy.)



Theory & Practicality:


How Does Education


Really Work?


As abstract as they may seem, your "educational theories and philosophy" will make a daily difference in your home school experience. This chapter compares the benefits of the major approaches to home education, and shows how each one has aspects which can be used as tools to be picked up and set down as needed. Parents are encouraged to develop their own philosophy of education. There is an emphasis on depending on God as the "Author of Life" who will guide us as we select curriculum, plan lessons and teach our children.   The chapter concludes with a discussion of college options.



Essentials  for


Educational Excellence


This chapter presents several essential elements for excellence in school including determining learning styles, providing  resources, planning lessons, setting up school schedules, organizing your schoolroom and paperwork, demonstrating academic skills, developing life skills, adding adventure, developing teamwork, evaluating success and encouraging excellence.


Part 2:


Daily Life and Logistics




Life Management 101  


Opening with an inspirational poem by John Greenleaf Whittier, Life Management 101 talks about the need for order and purpose, compares two fictional home school moms at opposite ends of the organizational spectrum, and coaches Moms on how to formulate worthwhile priorities, goals and plans. This chapter includes "the secret of replacement" for how to overcome bad habits with good ones.



Busy at Home


Countless home school moms are tripped up while trying to balance housework and home school.  This helpful chapter address household routines, keeping things tidy, children and chores, scheduling, meal times, laundry and home decorating.



Little People


in the Home School


Oh, the joys -- and the frustrations -- of home schooling with babies, toddlers and preschoolers around. Readers will relate to the personal anecdotes and practical advice on the topics of pregnancy, newborns, working with little ones at their own level while including them in school time, arranging a home for safety, setting up an interesting play space, recruiting older children and trading off child care. Most of all, my hope is that parents will learn to enjoy their little ones while they can!



Part 3: 


Living, Loving and Learning


from a Mother’s Heart




In Search of Sanity


Using personal anecdotes and Scriptural encouragement, the second chapter covers what to do when facing discouragement, frustration and fatigue. Topics include perseverance, taking control of your thoughts, living in truth and grace, working physical stresses, and handling life transitions.



The Hallmarks of


a Gentle Spirit


The elusive goal of home school moms is nurturing a calm and gentle spirit. Here we explore the hallmarks of reverence, humility, submission & service, dignity, joy & cheerfulness, quietness of spirit and speech, peacemaking, patience, and preparation. A song about "A Woman of Beauty" closes this inspirational chapter.



Abide in Christ


Without a thriving relationship with Jesus, fruitful home schooling is impossible. Encouraging the reader to deeply abide in Christ rather than merely go through the motions of spiritual activity, this chapter also covers logistics for the disciplines of prayer, worship, and Bible study.



Your Support Network


 None of us can operate effectively in isolation. We need a network, usually found in a local home school support group. Themes of this chapter include support group service, learning from and accepting one another, peeling back our masks, making true friends, and getting involved in personal mentoring.



Building the Family Home


While acknowledging the gap between noble goals and cold hard realities, this chapter encourages parents to grow in five areas as they build their Christian homes. These include: communication (cultivating graciousness), consideration (living with understanding), cooperation (living in harmony), commitment (sticking together with a passion) and compassion (love in action).



Cherishing Your Marriage


This completely rewritten chapter rejoices in the blessing of marriage, and offers tips on how to safeguard this precious gift through common foundation, priority, respect, forgiveness, communication, purity and stewardship.  Click here to read this chapter on-line: Cherishing Your Marriage.



The Home Schooled Mom


There is one more student in the home school - MOM! Mothers are encouraged to continue their teacher training, study with their students, keep the brain waves rolling, nurture creativity with home arts, and accelerate  learning curves.

Ready to order?  Click here: Books by Virginia Knowles

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